Westerwelle in Cairo: Supporting Democratic Change in Egypt
Enlarge image Foreign Minister Westerwelle met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr on July 9. (© picture alliance / dpa)
With his trip to Egypt on July 9 and 10, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wanted to demonstrate support for the democratic process in the country following the presidential elections. He met among others newly elected President Mohammed Morsi. Egypt is a key player in the Arab world. Progress there is seen as critical for the success of democracy-building in North Africa and the Middle East.
On July 9, the first day of his visit, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had a meeting with Mohamed Amr, Egypt’s new Foreign Minister. In his talks with the country’s political leaders Westerwelle urged the need for further tangible progress towards democracy. The core priorities here are for Parliament to promptly resume its functions, a civilian and democratically legitimate government to be appointed and a transparent constitutional process put in place.
“We want Egypt’s democracy agenda to succeed”
After his meeting with Westerwelle, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr explained how pleased he had been to receive a strong message of German support for his country’s transformation process. Speaking in Cairo, Westerwelle noted that people in Egypt had taken to the streets to demand a democratic society in which everyone would have a stake. “We want Egypt’s democracy and civilian government agenda to succeed,” Westerwelle emphasized. What was crucial now was for all forces in Egypt to stand together and live up to their responsibility for the country’s future – a responsibility they owed also to the people of Egypt.
For this agenda to succeed, Egypt would need also international assistance. His visit was intended to demonstrate support, he added, for the country’s democratic forces. At the same time, however, demonstrations of international support for Egypt’s democratic transformation also showed those who perhaps had little interest in democracy-building that governments around the world were keeping a close watch on developments in Egypt and wanted its democracy agenda to succeed. Germany was very keen to support the transformation process there because “we firmly believe that human dignity, the rule of law and democracy are the key to a bright future for all nations.”
German Government congratulates first democratically elected President
Enlarge image Foreign Minister Westerwelle extened an official invitation, on behalf of Chancellor Merkel, to visit Germany. (© picture-alliance / dpa ) On July 10, Westerwelle had a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. He offered the President, who took office on July 1, the German Government’s congratulations and on behalf of the Federal Chancellor invited him to pay an official visit to Germany. After the meeting Westerwelle welcomed President Morsi’s “clear commitment to democracy. the rule of law and also pluralism.” He commended as well the President’s desire for “national reconciliation,” one aspect of which was also religious tolerance. He was pleased, too, that the President was clearly committed to respect and uphold Egypt’s treaties with other countries.
Westerwelle assured Morsi that Germany would press in Europe for further European support for Egypt’s transformation process. Germany would also play its part in ensuring that any money found in Germany which had been illegally taken out of Egypt was returned. Such money was needed to boost development there and must be sent back.
At the end of his visit Westerwelle summed up for journalists the various kinds of support Germany was offering. “All this shows you how much Egypt’s friends hope and trust that the country’s democracy agenda will be an enduring success,” he added.
Dialogue with the Arab League on the situation in Syria
The situation in Syria was the subject of the talks Westerwelle had with Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby at the organization’s headquarters on July 10. These talks were the latest in the regular series of discussions Germany has with the Arab League. The last such talks took place on July 6 on the fringe of the Friends of the Syrian People meeting in Paris. The main focus was on the situation in Syria. The two Ministers discussed developments in Syria and the region as well as options for steps that could be taken both at the United Nations in New York and in the region.
- Westerwelle is the first Western Foreign Minister to visit Cairo since the presidential elections and President Morsi’s inauguration on July 1. It was Westerwelle’s fifth visit to Egypt and the fourth since the popular movement for change in the country began in 2011. He last visited the country after the parliamentary elections in late January 2012. On that occasion Westerwelle met Morsi, then Muslim Brotherhood chairman, for the first time.